Monday, January 11, 2016

Tips to make your Teaching Portfolio POP!

 Since moving to Annapolis I have been on the job hunt.  Okay so it's only been like, 2 weeks, but you can never start soon enough, right?  I had a job interview this morning and I got some really good feedback about my portfolio.  Some of you were asking what was included so I figured I'd do a blog post about it!
So here goes...

The first thing I did was list some of my positive attributes on a random piece of paper.  I thought about some things I knew I was good at and some things I knew that Principals would want to know about.  I also scrolled through my computer and picked about some good photos that I knew I would be able to use. 

The "about me" page is simple and quick.  Just a little bit about me and how long I've been teaching.  I don't have any kids so I mention my dog and I also threw in a little something about my blog.

Next, I decided to dive into the organization of my room.  I'm pretty organized so just a few pictures helped to capture that.  Along with my classroom organization I talk just a tad about what I do for behavior management.  This section could go on and on because of the array of things I have going on in my room but I chose just a few points and narrowed my focus on those.

Communication is always a big thing.  
I devoted one whole section to a few things I do to keep communication in check.

I also scanned a few products I created and uploaded them to my pages.  

I come from years of Title I experience and have created many products to help with at risk students.  I thought this would be a good section to add to show some of the activities I do daily in guided reading/math, etc.

My first grade team also worked hard to create opportunities for our higher students.  I used this section to highlight what I do for my students working beyond grade level.

I've gotten some really sweet notes over the years and I've saved them.  I took a few and scanned them into my file.  I feel like this adds a good closing.

Add a cute little cover and you're done! 
Usually, I just print the pages and slide them in page protectors and stick them in a three ring binder.  That way, when I go school to school and I leave it, I'm fine with it being thrown away.  This time, my husband insisted we take the portfolio to staples and have it professionally bound.

This IS a more costly option, but I have to say it looks very professional.

Hope this helps you in your pursuit of finding the teaching job of your dreams!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Work on Writing Through the Year and FREEBIES!

For YEARS when it came to center time, I would hear the dreaded "UGH...I HATE work on writing..."
This bothered me because I'm the type of teacher that wants to make it fun, regardless of the task.  If they're not having fun, then I'm not having fun.  I wanted to make work on writing a hit with my students.  But how do you do such a thing when it's already such a daunting task?
The first thing I did was designate a little space for this spectacular center to take place.  Then, I bought a peg board from Lowe's (it wasn't that expensive) and spray painted it white.
Then I added some FUN!
Most of the garland I got a Michael's.  I have one for every month and I switch it out every month.  It's always fun to add lights to the garland as well :)

Now you're probably thinking, "Where on EARTH does she keep all this STUFF!"  Well, I have plastic boxes bought from Dollar General that are all labeled and stacked!

Now if you are going to have a fantastic work on writing area, you need some seasonal words to display.  Michael's always carries fun seasonal clips and ribbon.  I like to make it fun and add those up there too.  I also made little word books for the students to use the words from the wall.  These books are usually geared toward my struggling writers.

Writing Prompts are a great way to get your students minds thinking about what they want to write.  All my writing prompts are kept on a ring and hang from the peg board.  That way, if they choose to sit elsewhere, they can grab a stack of prompts and move.  All writing papers are kept stacked in a clear container from Staples.

It's always important to have a variety of paper to meet the learning needs of your students.  Sometimes early in the year I'll include the thinking maps and later in the year I'll choose other lined paper options.

Rubrics are always something that I like to provide for my students to help remind them what is looked for during center time - even if I'm not putting a grade on it.  Some I run copies of and let them staple to their writing page, others I print and laminate and let them use a wipe off marker to check the list.

Any time I'm at Michael's or Target dollar spot I always see the cutest baskets and containers.  And I buy them.  The look on their little faces and the "awwww...that's so cute..."  It's such a simple and fun way to display pencils, markers and stickers for Sticker Stories.

Below is a small snapshot of what comes in my work on writing packs.

So hopefully this will help you jump start your writing center and make it fun all year long!